I wanted to post pictures and write about the half-marathon I ran last weekend. About how it was my first race in 20 months, and how amazing it felt to stand amidst a sea of runners waiting to start, and how I nearly forgot my timing chip and then my water because I’m so out of race practice. About how I managed to run within the limits of my minimal training, and how I may have been slow by my standards but how I never once walked. About how the IT band pain that derailed me for so long did not surface, which was the biggest victory of all.
I wanted to write about Vancouver. About Stanley Park and the Olympic Cauldron and the polite residents and the cute neighborhoods and the piano on a bridge. About the lovely harbor views 38 floors above the city, about my disappointment in poutine, about the excellent restaurant service, about how I appreciated the currently low Canadian dollar value. About crossing a suspension bridge under brilliant greenery with a friend who’s shared many other miles with me.
I wanted to write about Victoria. About the island views and the goats and the piglets. About the Terry Fox memorial. About hiking up a steep mountain with another friend, with whom I once ran a 5k at midnight and was Rickrolled by bearded men on a train in Portland. About a lovely 38-mile bike ride that made me realize I have somehow become one of those people who actually misses being on a bicycle if a week has passed.
And then I broke my thumb. I have two splints, one for each break. One splint requires tape, which is extra fun to redo every time I take a shower. Tomorrow I see yet another doctor who will hopefully tell me how long it will be before I can wrap a ponytail holder around my hair, wear my new hoodie (or anything long-sleeved), and steer with my left hand so my right hand (which is also mildly sprained) can go back to its main job of operating the gear shift.
At some point, I will find out how much money I must pull out of savings. I know I’m more fortunate than most because I do have that savings, so I will be more than fine. But that savings has been earmarked for something bigger, and I hate to dip into it, as I have already since my rent was increased and my spending habits did not subsequently decrease.
And so, the combination of money and now-limited training and maybe even surgery have led me here: I don’t think I can run the fall marathon that has encouraged me to keep fighting to get back on the running track of life. The expensive race-rate/Washington D.C. hotel is refundable, and that would pay a significant amount of my medical deductible. I wouldn’t eat out in as many restaurants, which would get even worse if I kept to my plan of going on to New York to see multiple friends. I wouldn’t show up with minimal training.
I entered the Marine Corps Marathon through their lottery — I threw my name in the hat and told myself, “If I get in, I’m going to take it as a sign that I should not give up on running.” I got in.
I wanted to run another marathon. I wanted to revive the hope of Boston. Last week at the end of the half-marathon, I received a carrot-shaped medal that was the most appropriate medal I could have ever received. Standing by the Olympic Cauldron, it felt like I had walked through a door into a ray of light, and that another door was finally opening ahead of me. Four days later, I smashed into the asphalt. The sound I heard was that of a door slamming shut. I don’t know if I have enough strength to try breaking down yet another door.